Goat Cheese Pomegranate and Brussels sprouts bites

These tasty and healthy wee delights will have everyone wanting more! And the best part is that you can get them ready in 5 minutes flat.
As festive food can be so rich and full of calories, these little treats are light and healthy and are a burst of fresh flavours for your festive table. Recipe courtesy of Apron Strings.

• 12 large Brussels sprouts
• 2 ounces goat cheese (plain or with added herbs)
• 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
• Optional: one teaspoon of honey or agave (for extra sweetness if preferred)

Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Remove 2 outer leaves from each of the Brussels sprouts and cut off excess stem end, forming a round cup shape. Blanch for one minute in boiling water and then remove and place in a bowl of cold water.
Fill each leaf with a little goat cheese and a few pomegranate arils. (Add a drop or two of honey or agave, if desired.)



Christmas Bliss Balls (A healthy Version)

Here is a Chocolate Fix Fuelled With Energy that you can try to make for Christmas, courtesy of Lady Wimbledon https://ladywimbledon.com/2017/12/3-healthy-christmas-treats/

To make these energising Bliss Balls, you’ll need….

  • 50g Almonds, whole or ground
  • 50g Cashews, whole
  • 100g pitted dried Dates (can use mixture of dates and dried figs)
  • 30g raw Cacao
  • 30g Chia seeds
  • 60g Oats
  • 85g Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Desiccated coconut – toasted for coating (optional)

Here’s how…
If using whole almonds and cashews, start by blending them in a food processor to a course texture. Then add the dates along with all the other ingredients and pulse until well combined and finely blended. Start with 3 tbsp. coconut oil and if the mixture is still crumbly and difficult to form into a ball after combining, use a little more. I usually have to scrape down the sides of the blender a couple of times to ensure a good consistency.
They are now ready to roll into small balls. Put the toasted coconut onto a small plate and roll each ball around until fully coated.
Refrigerate for a firmer texture for an hour before serving.

Enjoy 🙂


Healthy Eating at Christmas

Enjoying time with family and friends over the Christmas period doesn’t mean that excess food and alcohol needs to become a part of the menu!
Check through the healthy lifestyle tips below, so that unwanted kilos are not something you and your family have to deal with at the end of January;
If drinking alcohol…
• Watch your serving size. Restaurants often serve wine in glasses that are three times the standard serve.
• Be careful with top-ups. Topping up your glass can lead to you losing count of the amount you have been drinking. Finish one glass before accepting a top-up.
• Alternate your drinks. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one non-alcoholic drink such as water.

During the feasting…

1. Avoid going hungry to parties. Eat something light before the party to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food. Some healthy snacks include a 200g tub of reduced fat yoghurt, a bowl of cereal or a cheese and tomato sandwich.

2. Don’t try to lose weight over the Christmas season. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.

3. Watch your portion sizes. If your will power is weak and you know you will want to finish everything in front of you, use an entrée plate instead of a dinner plate. That way you are sure to eat less.

4. Fill up with foods from the foundation layers of the healthy food pyramid. These foods include vegetables, legumes, fruit and grains foods.

Party Food to Enjoy or Limit

Foods to Enjoy
• Vegetable sticks, pretzels, rice crackers
• Hummus, beetroot, tzatziki, avocado dip
• Sushi
• Sandwiches, quiches
• Fruit salad with yoghurt

Foods to Limit
• Creamy dips
• Pies, sausage rolls, spinach triangles
• Chips, corn chips
• Lollies, candy canes, chocolates
• Cakes and slices with cream

Don’t forget the exercise
• Play with your children. They enjoy when you watch their games, but they LOVE when you play with them. Try outdoor cricket, throwing a Frisbee, bike riding or swimming.
• Set yourself an exercise challenge for the New Year. Fun runs are great events to get involved in. Your local council website should provide details of sporting events held annually in your area.
• If you’re on a holiday, walking is the best way to become familiar with your holiday location. It’s amazing what you can discover when you are on foot.
• Use the facilities at camping grounds, motels or resorts. For example, hiring a tennis court is an inexpensive way to stay entertained for hours.
• Ask for a gym membership as a Christmas present. That way you can stay fit all year round.

Christmas can be a daunting time for many in regards to putting on weight and eating or drinking too much but it doesn’t have to be. Try to follow as many of the above tips as you can and remain vigilant with the choices you make. Here’s to a healthy and happy holiday time!


How to deal with the inevitability of change!

Change is here to stay.

Change is something I have had to deal with a lot in my life over the last couple of years, moving countries, moving house several times, changing jobs, leaving people, reuniting with people, and one thing I reflected on recently is that change seems to become more stressful the older you get. For me as a young adult change often went hand in hand with adventure and was, therefore, something I welcomed with both arms, but now as I have a stronger pull to feel settled and in control it seems to keep disrupting the balance, and at times leaving me feeling out of control and overwhelmed.

I also understand wanting everything to stay the same is neither possible or at times healthy, as not only is change inevitable, it’s needed to bring new opportunities, pursue your goals, disrupt the norm and to keep life interesting.

Because change is inevitable, and at times vital, but becomes more stressful as you get older, it’s useful to think about what we can do to support ourselves through periods of change.

Below are 5 tips for dealing with change:

1) What’s the worst that can happen?
Change can represent the unknown, which for many can be quite scary. A way to counter balance the fear of the unknown is to spend some time thinking through the different scenarios that could arise from the change, what could be the outcomes, what would be the best and worst case scenarios? Think back to past changes that had felt scary or uncomfortable, how did they turn out? Sometimes things are nowhere as bad they seem at first, often we adapted and can thrive through a change.
2) Focus on what you can control
When you are going through a big change in your life it can be useful to reflect on how much control you can actually have and what is quite simply out of your control. There may be small things you can do to make a change easier, such as a to-do lists, keeping open communication with the others involved and general organisational tasks. If an unwanted change can be stopped or reduced then problem-solving and goal setting may help you address the challenge at hand.
3) Letting go of what you cannot not control
Change can be most stressful when it’s unwanted or feels beyond our control. Working to accept the fact that allot of things in our lives are beyond our control, working to be comfortable with that, will bring perspective when we are trying to fight an unwinnable battle and allow us to shift our focus to our wellbeing and the controllable aspects of our life.
4) Consider the positives that changes may bring into your life
Initially it may be hard to see them but taking some time to focus on the positives that can come from a change will help you manage the process. However small they may feel initially, it will help you make the best of the situation. This could be an opportunity to grow, learn and experience new things.
5) Look after yourself
Change, whether it’s unwanted or sought can be very stressful so it’s important you work on your ability to handle this. Try developing your own relaxation routine i.e. mindfulness, listening to music, taking a walk etc., and wherever possible reach out for support from those around you. Consider asking friends or family for help or emotional support or you can look at some options for getting professional help if you find you are struggling to cope.

When we embrace life and the endless possibilities of change, we can cope with unplanned situations that can and do arise so much better. How have you handled changes in your life? We would love to hear from you!


Being accepted by you: when your feelings need your acceptance

Nothing destroys self-worth, self-acceptance and self-love faster than denying what you feel. Without feelings, you would not know where you are in life. Nor would you know what areas you need to work on. Honor your feelings. Allow yourself to feel them – Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant’s above quote speaks volumes and gives appreciation to mere expression, acceptance and acknowledgement of our feelings and ultimately of who we are. But the question is, how can we learn to accept our feelings?

In most cases, it is common for some individuals to respond to their personal challenges with many manners, approaches, and feelings. Some can be positive and others can be more damaging. Some people may become moody, withdrawn and depressed while others may lash out at those closest to them or even to strangers.

Not accepting our feelings may come with its consequences and for some people, their tension may show up as restlessness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in social interaction, insomnia or a feeling of apathy and exhaustion.

While some of the above symptoms are unpleasant, normal and predictable reactions of refusing to accept our feelings may cause physical, social, emotional and economical damage. Below are some tips that may be of assistance if you feel your feelings need to be seen, heard and accepted by you:

  1. Identify what you are feeling – This means to recognize strong feelings and understand why they may be present. Do not try to ignore, undermine or overlook them. It’s about acknowledging and accepting what you are feeling. You can try to label it to. For example, I am feeling angry right now, or I am feeling ashamed.
  2. Identify your supportive tribes and talk to them –By sharing and talking about your feelings, it may help you to express, vent and accept these feelings in a constructive and safe way. Together you may even provide support and reassurance to others and hence may help build more positive self-esteem and self-awareness. Often, by talking to others, it can help us see the situation from a different perspective.
  3. Talk to others or join a support group – Interacting with others who you may not know can be scary, but talking to others may offer a sense of belonging, normality and may offer tools that may assist you in the future. Talking to other people may simply give you the sense that you are not alone and this can be uplifting and hopeful. There may also be other people that you know who have gone through a similar experience, and they may be able to offer you some practical advice.
  4. Stop and regain your strength – Taking some time for the things you appreciate or even enjoy can be difficult and may even feel strange. However, the benefit of it is huge, because such breaks provide ways to reduce the emotional tensions that stresses bring you throughout the day, week or even the year before.
  5. Evaluate your circumstances and consider professional service – In some cases, it is important to accept when we need objective support from a trustworthy and well-informed professional. Hence, it is okay to speak to your Doctor in order to receive a referral to see someone who may help you analyse your challenges, strengths, solutions, additional support, or a treatment plan.


On that note, it is essential to remember to appreciate your own uniqueness, and as Bruce Lee puts it: “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”


Coping with Anxiety in the everyday

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences, almost daily, it helps to drive us to get things done, avoid danger and bring awareness to own emotional reactions to situations. While it’s severity can vary greatly, from a passing emotion around work stress through to debilitating panic impacting a person’s quality of life, the fact that it will be there in some form is something none of us can escape. It’s is, therefore, important that we all develop our own set of strategies to help us cope with anxiety to support and care for ourselves at times of stress.

A short-term fix to anything that is causing us anxiety is to choose to avoid it altogether i.e. taking a day off work as we are anxious about a presentation or in the case of social anxiety not accepting any party invites. While this may reduce our anxiety in the short-term it doesn’t help us in the long run, there will most likely be another presentation at work or you will become more and more socially isolated by avoiding the party invites. You only limit what you can do and you never have the chance to test whether the situation you avoid is really that frightening. Without facing our fears, we can never realise that we can cope with it and it will pass, allowing us to enjoy a better quality of life.

So, what are some steps we can take in the everyday to support ourselves to cope when we are facing situations that cause us anxiety?  Please see 6 steps below:

1) Positive Thinking
We know avoidance doesn’t solve the problem, so when we face our anxiety we need to have confidence in your ability to cope and to be kind to ourselves in the moments that we are struggling.

2) Relaxation
When you feel anxious, try to think of situations where you felt calm. Perhaps listening to music relaxes you, playing sport, or reading a book. It might be worth investing in some audio tapes that teach you specific relaxation techniques, particularly if you are having trouble sleeping. Meditation or yoga can also help enhance relaxation.

3) Watch what you eat and drink
Alcohol and caffeine can increase anxiety levels, so are best in moderation or avoided all together in cases on high anxiety. Try and eat a balanced low sugar diet.

4) Structuring the day
A good way to fight anxiety is to set yourself a list of achievable goals and challenges, broken down in to weekly and daily steps. Getting your family and friends involved should provide much needed support and encouragement.

5) Exercise
Exercise is nature’s own anti-depressant – it supports the brain to release chemicals that will improve your mood and naturally produce a sense of wellbeing. Being fit can also help you feel more positive about yourself.

6) Talk to someone
Those closest to us can often offer the support we need and talking through our anxiety with them can be a great way to confront any problems we may be facing. If anxiety is starting to affect our daily lives then talking to your GP, a psychologist or counsellor can also be a way to help you better understand your anxiety, how it impacts on your life and how you may manage it more effectively.

Some level of anxiety is here to stay for all of us but we can work on developing a tool box of strategies to help us manage and cope with those emotions which in turn will start to reduce the impact they have on our quality of life and wellbeing.


How to set healthy boundaries for yourself

Boundaries are essentially the rules and principles you live by in terms of what you will or will not allow. They are actually your bottom line. Setting boundaries is not about being selfish. It’s about self-love. Love can’t exist without boundaries. The most important thing to understand about boundaries is that its about your relationship with yourself and your values, therefore they should be consistent and not change depending on who you are dealing with. Your boundaries are your values and it’s important that you are very clear about what they are. Boundaries are all about how much or how little respect you have for yourself. People with no boundaries are often the ones who have little or no self-worth.

Boundaries are learned, so if you grew up in a household where boundaries were not set by parents, or as a child your boundaries were not valued, you will grow up to realise you have little to no boundaries in place. There is an art to setting boundaries. If you try to communicate them with anger or by nagging, they simply won’t be heard and you will become frustrated.  Boundaries are best set by being calm, assertive, firm and courteous towards others.   Let’s explore ways on how we can best set boundaries for ourselves:

  • Decide who you are and what your core values are. You need to figure out what you are and aren’t comfortable with. Work out where that line is. What are your values for work, relationships, friendships etc. You need to be clear on what matters to you most, and then you need to communicate this with others. Always make your boundaries about you, not about the other people that you are involved with. A good way to determine this is how certain things make you feel. If you walk away from a situation or person and feel down, guilty, bullied, angry or any other negative emotion, it’s a good sign your values have been compromised.
    • Mean what you say. It’s important that you clearly communicate your boundaries. What’s the point in having a whole list of healthy boundaries if you don’t communicate them to others that you are involved with. By not communicating our boundaries, we create confusion in our relationships and often feel “taken for granted”. It’s also important to not contradict yourself. Therefore, if you say something, ensure that you follow through with it. It can be scary sometimes telling people what we truly want out of fear of rejection and we often conceal our true feelings out of fear of people’s reactions. However, in order for you to have firm boundaries in place, it is important that you mean what you say, and that you are consistent.
    • What are the consequences of your boundaries being crossed? It’s important that you take some time and decide ahead of time what the consequences are at the beginning and communicate this to others. For example, if a friend calls you during work hours when you’ve told them you are unable to answer the phone during that time, simply don’t answer the call. The best way to work out the consequences of your boundaries being crossed, is by having some alone time, and working out what’s acceptable to you and what you are comfortable with in terms of consequences. Don’t set up consequences that you will not follow through with, as this will set you up for failure and show others that your boundaries are weak. This is all about you and honouring your needs. Write it down so you know.
    • Know that you can’t change others, you have to change yourself. We cannot change others nor can we control what comes out of their mouth, the choices that they make, how they react to certain life situations etc. So, what can we do? Since we cannot get into someone’s head and make them change the way they act, talk, respond, etc. we can only change the way we deal with them. We can also change the way we think about the situation so that it doesn’t have as much control over us. The only way others can change is if they see their old ways no longer work. So, change the way you respond to them.
    • Actions speak louder than words. Your behaviour speaks louder than your words. Present your boundaries to people and then back it up with your actions. People will test, push and disrespect your limits but you need to remain resolute about what your boundaries are. When you get better at this, you will not emotionally react to people who push your boundaries. How great is that?!


It takes time, support and self-evaluation to be able to set effective boundaries. Assertiveness and self-awareness are the first steps in achieving this. Remember that it always comes back to your self-worth and values and what you will and won’t accept for yourself. You know yourself better than anyone and only you can determine what you need, want and value. You will know when you have created healthy boundaries as you will have improved self-confidence, communicate better with others, have more fulfilling relationships, feel empowered and have more stability in your life.



Tips for returning to work after a long absence

Re-entering the workforce after an extended absence, whether it’s 12 months or 12 years, can be a daunting and intimidating step to take.

The reason for the extended absence can be a myriad of reasons, whether it’s raising children, ill health, changes of life circumstances etc. and can vary greatly between each person, but some of the unique challenges faced when looking to land a new job will be shared.

Navigating the ever-changing job market is not easy for anyone, but it can be especially difficult when there’s a long pause on your resume. Therefore, it’s important to think a little further than the traditional job search and application route to successfully re-enter the workforce.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome many of these obstacles and achieve success, no matter how long you’ve been away from the work environment. We will look at some of these below:

Boost your self-belief

A career break can lead to returners undervaluing what they can offer an employer. Taking time to review what your strength’s and skills are, and working out where you may need a little updating, can help to boost your confidence.

• Ask friends and family for feedback on what you’re good at (with examples)
• Write down at least 5 achievements and the skills you demonstrated
• Update your skills and knowledge by taking refresher courses, reading about current industry issues, joining webinars and following potential employers on social media.

Prepare to network and don’t hide your career break

Before taking the first step into networking and approaching employers, it’s important to prepare how you will tell your previous employment and career break story

Be prepared to:

• Outline your pre-break work experience and qualifications
• Give a brief explanation for your break. There’s no need to apologise or justify it. It is what it is. Mention how you used the break to get involved with your community, improve and care for yourself, and how you kept your skills relevant
• Describe where you would like your career to go now

Reconnect with your professional self

If it’s relevant to your industry, create a new Linkedin profile; look to reconnect and meet with former colleagues who remember you as your ‘professional self’. Join industry groups and attend, or volunteer at events.

Be creative about how you can take the first step

There are several ways you can start the job searching process without having to rely on the more traditional routes. These could include:

• Through your contacts, propose a short project ‘work placement’
• Look into temporary assignments various employers may have temporary assignments available, and will often fill them with people who are between jobs
• Join a recruitment agency for temp work. This is a good way of getting your foot in the door for temporary work to boost self-confidence and get up to date with industry trends. It’s also a great way to network
• Volunteering could be one way to get the experience necessary to gain a paid job in the field. In addition, if you prove your worth through volunteer work, an employer may offer you a paid position, even though that wasn’t the original agreement.

All the above tips help to fill your CV gap, build your network and professional confidence – and may even lead to a permanent role.

Feel confident to try any one, or a combination of the above strategies to help you find work after a long absence but most importantly, remember that you are the same skilled and capable person you were before your absence from the workforce!



How developed is your EQ?

Before we can determine how developed our EQ is, we should try to define what EQ is. EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence and it is a term that was created by 2 researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and made popular by Dan Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence” produced in 1996. EQ is essentially the way one perceives, understands, expresses and manages their own emotions. Additionally, it is also how we recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.

The benefits of having a high EQ are numerous and even outweigh a high IQ. Real life examples in a work setting include:
• Greater sales for people with a high EQ by 50% as compared to those with low to medium EQ
• More stability in staff and increased retention rates by up to 67%
• Increased customer satisfaction due to amazing customer service
• Those with a higher EQ are 20 times more productive than those with a lower EQ

The importance of emotional intelligence lies in the fact that if you understand these important facets of yourself, the better off you will be in terms of your mental health, your social behaviours and also your success in life.

Daniel Goleman developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence. They are:
• Self-Awareness: This is about how self-aware you are about your emotions. By being self-aware, you will not let your emotions or feelings rule you. This also includes taking a close, honest look at yourself and knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. This also includes working on these areas so that you can improve yourself.
• Self-regulation: This is the ability to control your emotions and your impulses by not letting yourself get too angry or too jealous and by thinking before you act. This takes allot of discipline and practice. The main elements of self-regulation are being thoughtful of others, being ok with change, the ability to say no and integrity.
• Motivation: How motivated are you? People with a high level of emotional intelligence are typically motivated. They are highly productive and love a challenge. They are very effective in whatever they choose to do.
• Empathy: This is the ability to feel the wants, needs and viewpoints of others. It’s essentially putting yourself in others shoes. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when it’s not obvious. Empathic people avoid judging others too quickly and stereotyping people, they are also excellent at managing relationships and listing to others.
• Social skills: Another sign of high emotional intelligence is how easy it is to relate and talk to others, or how social you are. Team players typically have strong social skills because they think about how they can help others shine and achieve themselves, and they don’t only consider and think of themselves. Those with strong social skills can manage disputes easily, communicate effectively and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

The good news is that your EQ can be developed over time if we have a desire to learn and grow. Below we will look at 5 key ways in which we can improve our emotional intelligence:
1. The ability to manage stress: We all experience some level of stress in our life time. How we handle the stress can make all the difference. When we can keep our cool, we are better able to deal with highly stressful situations. We can use quick tips such as going for a walk or exercising when we feel overwhelmed, or even walking away from a highly confrontational situation and getting some fresh air.
2. The ability to be assertive: This is a hard one for many people. Being assertive means that we respect ourselves enough to speak in a kind manner to the other person about what’s important to us and where our boundaries are at. That way, people know where they stand. This includes things such as, being able to say no without feeling guilty, disagreeing with something that doesn’t feel right for us, setting our own priorities and protecting ourselves from harmful situations.
3. Being proactive, rather that reactive when dealing with an unreasonable person: We will all encounter a person who is difficult. It is easy to sometimes let them get the better of us and ruin our day. What’s important here is how we respond to the situation. Rather than letting them get the better of us by making us feel upset, or spoiling our day, there are some tips we could use. Take a deep breath and count slowly to ten (in your mind), if this hasn’t helped, you may need to ask to come back to what you were discussing when you have had time to think. Another way is to try to see it from the other persons point of view. This is also a way of reminding you that people do what they do based on their own issues, so we need to de personalise the issue from ourselves. Being reasonable and considerate goes a long way.
4. How you bounce back from adversity: Ultimately, we choose the way we think, feel and act in relation to what life throws at us. With every challenging situation we come across we need to ask ourselves what the lesson is, what we learnt from it, what is most important to us etc. It’s not about the failure, it’s about how many times we get back up. Remember the comeback is always better than the setback!
5. How we express intimate emotions: this is everything to do with how we express our intimate emotions with those closest to us. We can do this by asking those close to us, “how are you feeling?” “I love you”, “I appreciate you” etc. or through our body language by positive eye contact, hugging, smiling, hugging etc.

There is no denying that regular intelligence is important for one to succeed in life, however, emotional intelligence is key to how successfully we relate to others and achieving our life goals. People with high Emotional Intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. This is because they know how to communicate with others to get the best out of the situation. Many companies are now using emotional intelligence testing before they hire new staff as they know the importance and the difference in results of someone who rates hig


The Power of Listening

Listening to others is something we all do every day, but how actively and effectively we are involved in the process can vary greatly. Until I started training to become a counsellor, listening wasn’t something I had given much thought to, it didn’t seem to be something that I would consider a skill or a deficit. However, the more I learned about the impact of active listening and the detrimental impact of distant or incomplete listening can have, I started to appreciate the power of listening and took steps to develop my skills as a listener.

Think of how many times you have interrupted a friend or colleague mid-sentence as you couldn’t wait to make your point, or even if you don’t interrupt you mind had wondered onto your next point, the argument you had last night with your partner or what you’re going to have for dinner. When we listen in this way, not only do we miss out on fully understanding those we communicate with, but we also leave them feeling unheard and potentially hurt and dismissed by the breakdown of our attention. Our relationships can suffer and we can approach many tasks in life missing vital pieces of information.

The way a counsellor may listening to their client will certainly vary from how we will or should listen to our friends or colleagues but there are certainty skills we can take from therapists training which will help to improve our listening skills, increase what we can take from everyday conversations and help those we listen to feel respected, heard and valued.

Active listening means that you not only make a conscious effort to hear what the person is saying but to also attempt to understand the fuller message the person is presenting. Mindtools.com put together the below useful pointers of how to make our listening more active.
How to become an Active Listener
There are five key active listening techniques. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they say.

1. Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognise that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.
• Look at the speaker directly.
• Put aside distracting thoughts.
• Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
• Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
• “Listen” to the speaker’s body language i.e. facial expression, body posture.

2. Show That You’re Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
• Nod occasionally.
• Smile and use other facial expressions.
• Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
• Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

3. Provide Feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.
• Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is,” and “Sounds like you are saying,” are great ways to reflect back.
• Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
• Summarise the speaker’s comments periodically.

4. Defer Judgment
Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
• Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
• Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.

5. Respond Appropriately
Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.
• Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
• Assert your opinions respectfully.
• Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.

Integrating some of the above points into your listening practice will have significantly positive impacts on the quality of your conversations and even your relationships.

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